Visiting Vianden, Luxembourg’s Prettiest Town
Hello friends, happy Wednesday! I’m chasing my tail a bit here, but I’m finally getting around to sharing the follow up to my first Luxembourg post: Visiting Vianden, the prettiest little town! Vianden is located in the north of Luxembourg, and it’s home to the biggest castle in the whole country! During our three-day stint in Luxembourg back in January, Boyfriend & I decided to make the journey to Vianden for a half-day trip. Factoring in the travel time – around 1-hour each way – it’s not exactly ideal if you’re looking for a hassle-free trip, but it was definitely, one hundred percent worth it! We loved our time in this pretty little town!
You guessed it: heaps of information listed below! How to get there, where to have coffee + pastries, and what to see + do. Enjoy!
visiting Vianden: before you visit
Just a few quick things to consider if you’re thinking about visiting Vianden! 🙂
• Vianden is a tiny little town with just over 2,000 inhabitants. The streets are winding and charming, lined with pastel coloured houses and cute cafés. Quiet, quaint, picturesque, and ultimately: lovely. With this in mind, Vianden is very much a day-trip destination; perhaps somewhere to spend a long afternoon pottering around. Due to transport timing, we spent less than 2-hours in town, but I honestly don’t feel like we missed out on much.
• many attractions in Vianden are covered under the Luxembourg Card. Main sights included are: entry to the castle, rides on the chairlift to/from the Castle, and entry to the Victor Hugo museum. The card covers attractions country-wide and, if more places in Luxembourg City had been opened during our visit, we probably would’ve opted for it ourselves!
• from our own personal experience, Vianden very much seems to be a summer town. Many businesses and restaurants were closed when we visited in January, but I’ve read online that during peak summer months – aka: peak hiking months! – it comes alive. Just something to take into consideration!
visiting Vianden: getting there
Here’s the thing about visiting Vianden: there is no direct route between there and Luxembourg City. Which, by the way, is just mind-boggling, because Vianden is one of the top tourist destinations in the whole country, but I digress. With a little bit of planning and forethought, it really isn’t that hard to get there – it’s just one train and one bus away from Luxembourg City. These are the steps we took to get to Vianden:
• first, we took a train from Gare Luxembourg to Gare Ettelbruck. This is a regional train that departs once every 30-minutes going towards Diekirch Gare, and it took 40-minutes on the button to arrive at Ettelbruck. Note: on Sundays this train only runs once an hour, so be sure to double-check the timetable!
• from Ettelbruck, we took the #570 bus all the way to Vianden. The bus leaves from just outside the train station, going in the direction of Obereisenbach, and takes 25-minutes. As with our bus journey in Luxembourg City, the ride is very straightforward with the stops clearly marked on a screen inside the bus. Note: again, on Sundays this bus only runs once an hour, so be sure to double-check the timetable.
See, it’s not that bad! If you time it right, the wait between getting off the train and onto the bus should only be about 15-minutes – which is way more than you’ll need to locate the bus stop.
visiting Vianden: where to get pastries + coffee
My first port of call in any new-to-me place is to hunt out the best pastries & coffee in town, and that was no different when visiting Vianden. We got into town relatively early – prime pastry time 😉 – and here’s where we hit up:
Boulangerie-Pâtisserie Au Croissant D’Or // the internet unanimously agreed: this is home to the best pastries in Vianden. We opted for an epic custard + raisin Danish, and a giant pain au choc; both were delicious, but I especially enjoyed the Danish! Upon entering/leaving, please take note of the adorable croissant door handle – isn’t it the coolest thing ever? We took our pastries up the road to a nice bench/water fountain area and devoured them there. Be warned: they sell out fast, and on Sundays they close early! Address: 31 Grand-Rue, 9410 Vianden, Luxembourg
Ancien Cinéma Café Club // the cutest little café! Quirky décor and a lovely atmosphere. We sat at the window to watch the world go by, but down the back they have a projector running movies non-stop with comfy couches to lounge in! It was Sunday morning when we visited, so I think they were showing Tom & Jerry, but there’s different showings throughout the day. It’d be a cool place to while away an afternoon with a drink or two! Added bonus: the prices were mercifully low, compared with those in Luxembourg City. Would recommend. Address: 23 Grand-Rue, 9410 Vianden, Luxembourg
visiting Vianden: what to see + do
I feel like this almost goes without saying, but the main reason anyone even thinks about visiting Vianden is 100% to see their spectacular castle! I was super excited about seeing it with my own two eyes, because – other than, like, Kilkenny Castle etc. – this was my first castle experience! And really, they just do castles so much better on the continent, amiright? Heck. Yes.
Vianden Castle Viewpoint // I was just as excited about making it to this viewpoint as I was about visiting the castle! Like, look at that view! The path to the viewpoint certainly isn’t exactly straightforward, but it’s definitely worth hunting down! To get there: cross the street from the Auberge Du Chateau, and walk along Neipiertchen. At first there’s a steep flight of stairs that leads behind houses and overlooks a playground, but don’t fear: this is correct. At the top of the stairs, there’s a rocky muddy path – which, honestly, had me questioning my sanity – that eventually leads to a metal tunnel and a spiral staircase. The tunnel is dark and scary, but when you make it to the top of the staircase it’s so worth it for that view!! A must visit!
Vianden Castle // the biggest castle in all of Luxembourg! Mountaintop position? Check! Cute pink colour? Check! Rapunzel-style turret? Check! Combination of both overwhelming size and sheer beauty? Check!! I died and went to castle heaven. We opted to tour the inside of the castle – €10 each at the time of our visit – and, although not as impressive as the exterior, we both enjoyed wandering around. Many of the rooms have been restored and are filled with furniture of yore. Good to know: during the summer months you can take a chairlift from the town to the castle, but sadly it was closed during our visit. Apparently the views are amazing! Don’t miss: Patrick Swayze’s autograph! Swayze starred in George & the Dragon, which was filmed in part in the Castle. A must visit! Address: Mnt du Château, 9408 Vianden, Luxembourg
Five Fun Luxembourgish Facts
Seeing as this post is quite a bit smaller than my Luxembourg City blog post, I thought it’d be cool to share a few fun facts I learned about the country while researching for this trip! Dum-dum-dum-da:
• Luxembourg is landlocked by three different countries. France to the south, Belgium to the west & north, and Germany to the east.
• Luxembourg is the 7th smallest country in Europe! Beaten only by Andorra, Malta, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco, and Vatican City; it’s tiny! If you were to drive from the very north of the country to the very south, it would only take you an hour and a half! And we thought Ireland was small – pssht!
• at the time of our visit, Luxembourg is the richest country in the world. It is known for high income levels & low unemployment rates.
• Luxembourg is the only Grand Duchy in the world. I actually had no clue what this meant before visiting, but now I can share my knowledge! A Grand Duchy is a country whose official head of state is a monarch bearing the title of Grand Duke or Grand Duchess. This is different from a Kingdom, which is run by a King or Queen, like the UK.
• Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was the first serving EU leader – and only the second in the whole world! – to marry a same-sex partner. The two married in 2015, less than a year after Luxembourg legalized same-sex marriages.
Some pretty cool stuff!
And there we have it: Visiting Vianden, Luxembourg’s prettiest town. Have you ventured to the little hillside village? For us, it was definitely worth making the trip up and back in one day – it’s so beautiful! As usual, I’d love to hear any thoughts or comments you have! Hit me up using the box below 🙂
Ciao for now!